Supporting Government Efforts to Stabilize Rice Prices
The government plans to import 1 million tons of rice from China in 2024 . This is done to anticipate the impact of the drought which is expected to continue until next year as well as to stabilize the price of rice on the market .
The Main Director of the Perum Logistics Affairs Agency, Budi Waseso, said that weather events, floods, crop failures everywhere have caused several areas where our rice production ends up lacking, and inevitably we have to start importing rice from other countries . The import policy was started last year , at the end of 2022 , but it turned out that weather problems persisted and production decreased . For this year, the import policy is instructed at 2 million tons.
Budi added that this import decision was made as a preventive measure, and so that the government would not be late in making a decision. The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has also instructed to increase the amount of rice imports, because domestic rice production has recently been experiencing a decline due to climate change . Climate change also causes a food crisis. This food crisis was triggered by drought due to a long dry season, and floods due to extreme rain. These two incidents caused agricultural productivity to decrease due to crop failure.
Budi also added that domestic production has indeed decreased, it is no one’s fault because it cannot fight nature. Yesterday, at the start of the year, due to flooding, many crops failed so production was still low. Today there is El Nino, the drought will definitely also affect the productivity of rice fields, so it’s normal .
In this case, China is ready to become one of the countries ready to export rice to Indonesia, which previously also received supplies from a number of countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Pakistan.
The problem of food availability is a threat to community welfare. The current natural weather conditions are the biggest threat to food availability , because the extreme El Nino weather has caused rice production to decline, which farmers have really complained about. Coupled with the rapid increase in population in Indonesia, and the decreasing number of farmers due to the fact that land is increasingly being converted into settlements and housing, livelihoods are also starting to change with the times.
Most of today’s young people certainly prefer to work at home, such as playing stocks, or doing online business, as well as as content creators , rather than having to work hard in the rice fields or fields. This is also a factor that causes a reduction in the amount of rice stocks for our country, which results in the need for imports from other countries to meet the rice needs of the Indonesian people.
In some areas, even though the availability of rice is sufficient, due to changing weather, the price of rice has not yet fallen, but it is certain that at this time the price of rice will not rise again . The Minister of Trade, Zulkifli Hasan, said that if you want to buy affordable rice, you can buy Bulog rice at the Highest Retail Price (HET) of IDR 10,900 per kilogram (Kg).
Meanwhile, the National Strategic Food Price Information Center (PIHPS) noted that rice prices were still increasing. As of Friday (22/9), lower quality rice I was priced at IDR 13,100 per kg, up from IDR 13,050 last week. Then, lower quality rice II increased from IDR 12,850 to IDR 12,900 per kg. Then, medium quality rice I rose from IDR 14,150 to IDR 14,300 per kg, medium quality rice II rose from IDR 13,950 to IDR 14,100 per kg. Then, super I rice increased from IDR 15,500 to IDR 15,650 per kg and super II rice increased from IDR 14,900 to IDR 15,050 per kg.
Another factor causing the lack of rice availability is the threat of rice price spikes that have hit the world. This is due to the recent policy of stopping rice exports carried out by 19 countries. This policy of course also has an impact on rice in Indonesia.
In an effort to increase rice production, President Joko Widodo has launched a national program to increase production on 500,000 hectares (1.2 million hectares) of land that still receives water, by providing better machines and seeds. Then, this program is also carried out in areas that still have water supplies, such as South Kalimantan, which usually produces 800,000 tons. They will be encouraged to produce more to cover the shortfall in areas experiencing drought. The government also provides water pumps to help with irrigation. Social assistance was also provided, worth IDR 8 trillion, disbursed in a month, until this September, to distribute more rice to farming households with minimal income.
However, this will certainly not be easy to achieve if it is not implemented with good coordination and following existing policies . Hopes for an increase in food inflation will disappear. For this reason, we need strong support from all parties, both from the community and from the government, to work together to mutually improve the welfare of our society. Socialization or social assistance will also certainly have an influence, as well as perhaps visits from several content creators, can be done to increase the enthusiasm of the farmers.